4
Dec
2009
Community: Season 1, Episode 11
The Politics of Human Sexuality
Jordan
That Community is a show about second chances and redemption is pretty obvious. It has quickly transformed its setting into the perfect venue to watch these characters realize they have largley been failures to this point in their lives, but more excitingly, it is setting them up to recognize that with a little work they can become something much more. Annie needs to get a little more life experience, Abed needs a little more social interactment, and Jeff, at the show's center, needs to learn to be less of an asshole. Its all well and good that the show has basically laid out a course I want to follow it on by this point in its first season (something many shows don't get around to until much later), but the thing that I find most exciting is how well Community layers its plots. The show has already proved it excels at throwing three plotlines at viewers, but even better than that, it has shown that even the background for an episode can become a series of hilarious gags enough to basically qualify it as a fourth plotline.

Tonight was a perfect example. There were three plotlines at play, yet the STD fair tht was their setting ended up providing as many, if not more laughs than any of the actual plots. Events like the "Wheel of Remorse" and a caricature artist who draws people with STD's (including Jeff in a dune buggy with syphillis) were both very funny. And the Dean's gentle ignorance that providing alcohol at an STD fair was a bad idea (he never realized alcohol makes people horny because it just makes him sleepy), combined with the fact that he had furnished defective condoms was flat out excellent. Any STD fair that ends with Abed announcing, "If you're going to have sex tonight, don't use condoms!" is a winner in my book.

The main plot tonight focused on Jeff landing a date to double with Pierce. He landed the Dean's hot new secretary, but spent more time conversing with Pierce's older call girl, who pointed out to him that he was maturing and needed someone he could talk to (not someone who thinks Monty Python is the evil snake from Harry Potter). The "Jeff matures" storyline may be in danger of becoming rote, if only because Jeff needs to remain sort of static for years to come to make the show's basic conceit work, and tonight as we watched him change "Hot Blonde from Spanish Class" to "Britta" in his phone, it was a nice moment, but it also sort of reminded me of the narrated monologue that ended each episode of Scrubs (which in my mind ended last may. Don't ruin it for me!). JD always learned an important life lesson, and some of them were actually poignant or deep, but many others (especially later in the series run) strived to make connections and meaning where none existed. The ending of tonight's episode was only slightly remniscient of this, as the show strived to make Jeff altering a name in his phone into a moment of deep philosophical significance, but so far at least, Community manages to pull it off.

The B-plot follows Annie's embarrassed quest to see a penis before she has to demonstrate proper condom use to the STD fair. This results in Britta and Shirley helping her break into the Dean's office to commit a "reverse porky's" (which, by the way, is seemingly actually in the school's security codes). This plot sort of works, like when Shirley and Britta gave diverging responses as to whether the penis was average, but it also occasionally feels like the girls needed something to do during this episode. The C-plot focused on Troy and Abed's athletic competition goes off much better, though considering the chemistry those two have its no surprise. Anytime Troy and Abed are paired in a storyline it is going to be a funny one, and Abed waiting for inspirational music before arm-wrestling Troy was a very solid moment.

Over all this episode was a step down from the last two, but it would be almost impossible for Community to be as stellar as its sweeps episodes all the time. Despite my slight worry that Jeff's growth will be played up more often as the series progresses, which will lead to some moments where the show has to stretch even as it gives us some excellent ones, Community is clearly on the right path and has quickly become one of my favorite shows each week.

Grade: B

Notes:

-"Secretary is a little degrading to women. I help the Dean do office-y things." "Ah. Gender saved."

-
'You will get AIDS...unless you go to the STD fair."

-Anyone else notice that for a community college, Greendale's events are incredibly well attended? Though I guess if I heard that there was an STD fair with an open bar, I'd probably be there...

-"Its impossible to guard you! Your eyes are too gentle and mysterious!"

-"Taking a call girl to an std fair...There's a jokes here."

-"Being a virgin in this day and age is something special. You're like a unicorn!"

-Annie calls a penis a "giant thumb in a turtleneck." She is not impressed.

-Go, Abed, go! Before people sex one another!"
Tags: Community
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